The Syria crisis is “not a game of chess, but of billiards because the players are constantly changing” and their interplay is both “horizontal” and “dynamic”, said former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright at a Syria relief & development panel held on March 5th.  As such, the violence that has overrun Syria also catapults the narratives of militant groups and rebel forces using armed resistance.  As a result, the focus on militant operations overshadows nonviolent Syrian initiatives, and thereby overlooks the necessary factors for peace and reconciliation–when that inroad for Syria is made possible.  In particular, the Syria Justice & Accountability Centre’s (SJAC) joint report with Charney Research, which is the first comprehensive initiative to insert accountability into a political discussion by surveying Syrian citizens affected by the conflict, established a baseline for reconciliation. As Facebook shuts down pages of various nonviolent movements and civil society groups in Syria, and facilitating a black hole of many activists’ narratives, tools like the #Syria_NonViolence_Map and #SyriaTracker offer an alternative narrative–which will more likely advance a reconciliatory dialogue.  Consequently, this further alienates civil society efforts from what will be required once the Assad regime and opposition decide to renegotiate and move towards reconciliation–even if that juncture is five years into the future.  Tools like surveying and crowdmapping may help establish the baseline needed for reconciliation. [Click here to continue.]

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